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Published on Friday, February 1, 2013

Sunshine Committee bills considered

Legislative committees are considering three proposals from the Sunshine Committee that change what records are subject to public disclosure.

HB 1297/SB 5170 requires an appointed guardian ad litem, or the guardian ad litem program, to provide the parties and their attorneys the results of the background check conducted through the Washington State Patrol’s criminal identification system. Disclosure of the results of the FBI's criminal background check remains prohibited.

HB 1298/SB 5169 changes exemptions for certain personal information, including:

  • Requiring disclosure of the applications of finalists for the highest management position in a public agency, county, or local government department, except confidential reference information. The application materials must be available to the public after finalists are selected but before the agency makes its decision.
  • Clarifying that personal account balances, account transactions, access codes, and passwords are exempt from disclosure.
  • Narrowing the exemption of rideshare information to allow the release of a participant's name, general location, and e-mail address.

HB 1299/SB 5171 also makes a number of changes, including:

  • Clarifying that the exemption for identifying information related to a child sexual assault victim is not limited to the child's name, address, location, and photograph.
  • Exempting information contained in a locally or regionally maintained gang database from public disclosure.
  • Repealing the exemption for data on closed medical malpractice claims that may reveal the identity of a claimant, health care provider, health care facility, insuring entity, or self-insurer.
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